Is it a bird, a plane, or a boat? This startling looking craft is being developed by a team of Russian developers that have been working on the creation of a multipurpose sea-going Wing-in-Ground or ekranoplan, which they believe could contribute significantly to the speed of seaborne traffic and Search and Rescue response times.
The unique project will be presented by MariNet, the National Technological Initiative (NTI) working group, on the sidelines of the International Exhibition NEVA-2017 in St Petersburg, September 19-21.
Specialists and technologists from RDC Aqualines will provide a concept, basic and production design, engineering, construction and commissioning of the Wing-in-Ground vessel, known as the EP-15 series ekranoplan. It will have the following general characteristics:
– Length: 16.5 m
– Displacement: 5.5 tonnes
– Capacity: 15 people
The EP-15 will be designed for high-speed cargo and passenger transport, as well as search and rescue duties providing an operational speed of up to 200 km/h, on 50 – 300km long sea routes. The ekranoplan does not require any dedicated infrastructure and certification is carried out according to the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping rules.
A Wing-in-Ground effect vehicle can also be known as a WISE (Wing-In-Surface Effect) aircraft, or in Russian – ekranoplan. It is believed they were first developed in the Cold War for mainly military purposes by the USSR behind the secrecy of the iron curtain. Civilian versions are basically a boat with stubby wings and an air propeller, using the ground effect that aircraft feel when gliding close to the ground (or water) to travel at high speeds, more economically and with a lower power requirement than aircraft in free flight. The principle works because the low-mounted wings are getting most of their lift from air compressed between them and the surface, rather than just from the usual (free flight) lift through the usual pressure differential known as Bernoulli’s principle.